MASTERING THE TRANSITION FROM EDUCATION TO THE WORKPLACE
Published 18 December 2019
All over Norfolk, 2019 graduates are coming to the end of their first few months of life in the actual workplace. I’m in a slightly different place: because my first degree was in politics (for years I wanted to be a politician, but I saw the light just in time), I have spent the last two years completing a Masters in Commercial Real Estate, while embarking on my career as a graduate commercial surveyor at Arnolds Keys.
Making the move from education into the workplace, at whatever level, can be tricky, and the longer you have been in education, the bigger the ‘real world’ culture shock can be. So as someone who has made that transition relatively recently, may I offer some words of advice to those who are as we speak seeking the openings which will kickstart their careers?
These tips are written with the property profession specifically in mind, but I suspect they are equally relevant for many professional careers.
The first point I would make is that if you know you want to enter the property profession at an early stage (unlike me), then doing a ‘cognate degree’ (i.e. a first degree which is directly relevant to the discipline) is definitely an advantage. Otherwise you will find yourself – as I am doing – undertaking a two year masters with all of the extra work, and indeed cost, at the exact moment when you are trying to launch your career.
Secondly, make sure you really research the profession thoroughly, so that you know what is expected, and you are sure that this is the career path for you. There is so much that you need to know, and if you start finding that out while you are still in education, you will enter the workplace in a much advantaged position.
Thirdly, don’t wait until you start work to get involved in the profession. Seek out work experience placements, and try to immerse yourself as much as you can. This will mean you start your actual career several steps ahead of your peers.
The next point is definitely relevant to any profession: network furiously. Personal relationships are the lifeblood of any professional career, not just for securing that first job, but throughout your working life. Fortunately there are many more opportunities for young professionals to network nowadays, and making the effort to get involved – both while in education and once you embark on your career – is absolutely vital.
Finally, don’t think that the end of education is the end of learning. I learned more in one month at Arnolds Keys than I did in two years during my Masters. Soak up the expertise and the experience of those around you; that degree certificate doesn’t signify that you know it all!
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